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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: October 26, 1937
Name: William Harvey Adams
Residence address or location: Nine miles southwest of Tahlequah, Oklahoma Oklahoma
Date of Birth: February 24, 1875
Place of Birth: Carlisle County, Kentucky
Father: Robert Adams
Place of Birth: Virginia
Information on father: Died on old homestead in Kentucky
Mother: Ruth Freeze
Place of birth: Louisville, Kentucky
Information on mother: Died on old homestead in Kentucky
Field Worker: Wylie Thornton

I was born on the 24th day of February, 1875, in Carlisle County Kentucky, and when I was eighteen years of age, I left there in company with three families all traveling in wagons.

The heads of these families were Jim HAYS, and a man named Clark, and Riley HELTON.  There were three grown girls and two grown boys in the Helton family.

Mr. Helton agreed to let me ride with his family for $15.00 and I paid him that amount for my transportation.

We came through Arkansas into the Territory and Mr. Helton lost a daughter in death in Arkansas and I helped him bury her on a limestone hill in Arkansas.

We reached the Cherokee Nation on the 2nd day of November, and we landed right here in old Tahlequah.

I started right out hunting work and in a short time I was introduced by a man, who undertook to help me, to a widow Mrs. Mollie BROWN; she was Mr. Bill MCKAY’s daughter and lived out here near Park Hill, just across the road from the first Presbyterian Mission that used to be out here.

I worked for the Widow Brown for about 2 years at $15.00 per month and board and room.  That was good wages for those days, and I wore good clothes and had money all the time, in fact I saved a little.

I went to church over there at that Mission and right here I began to get acquainted with the Indians.

All the children attending the schools then seemed to be Indians.

The man who had charge of that Mission was a man named LAMB and he decided to do something for the white people who wanted to learn, so he hired a man named HENSLEY to teach a night school for white people, and it was for grown people too.

I attended this night school until I learned how to read and write and that’s all the education I ever got.

The regular teachers for those Indian children were 2 women named Miss MCCARRELL (?) and Miss Stella MATHIS.

In four years after my arrival here I was married to an Indian girl named Mary STEVENS, the daughter of Lige Stevens and it so happened that my wife was a first cousin to Jim French’s wife and Jim FRENCH was an outlaw of the early days.

That outlaw was a very friendly young man when he came to visit us and you would never imagine he would do such things as they said he did, and when he disappeared from the neighborhood for weeks at a time, we of course did not know what he was doing or where he was, but when he was about the home community he was just as friendly and considerate as a man could be.

He was rather a small man and weighed about a hundred and thirty-five pounds with keen piercing black eyes, and was very quick in all his movements.  He seemed to be double-jointed or limber all over.

This Jim French was married to a young Indian girl named Nan RIDER;  she was a sister to Tom Rider who was well known in later years as a State Representative, and was known for his interest in the Cherokee people, and in good government.  Tom Rider later died in the city of Muskogee, and was buried in Adair County.

Wilson Rider the father of Mrs. French was a great leader among these Indians in the Cookson Hills country.  He was known as a strong believer in the Christian religion, and a great foe of that which was wrong and therefore he was respected in all movements tending to uplift his people.

One thing I want to mention about the Indians of those days is their honesty in keeping their promises.